I received an invitation to be a guest author/speaker at the "Read Alabama" event at Bevill State College this week. The event is scheduled for February 22nd at the Bevill State campus in Jasper and it's a big deal.
I attended the finale event last year when Rick Bragg spoke - I was blown away! He is a phenomenal writer and speaker.
I've been really excited, but there's a part of me that's a little nervous too. I've been before large groups of people in the past. Jilda and I, along with our buddy Steve Norris played our songs at City Stages in Birmingham and there were thousands of people there. But many of them were milling about and a lot of them were drunk.
But this event is different. While there will only be a few hundred people there, they will come to hear me and two of my peers talk about writing. And they will be sober - the crowd I mean.
I can tell you this. When I was sitting alone pecking away at my keyboard, and dreaming of becoming a successful writer, I really didn't put a great deal of thought into all that it requires.
My success so far with my first book has been modest, but I've put in a lot of face time with the media and with the book buying public.
You have to be clever, interesting, funny, and have the ability to think on your feet. You also have to sell. You have to sell yourself, you have to sell your book, and you have to constantly think of ways to keep your name before the public in a positive light for as long as you're trying to be successful.
I guess I always thought there would be "people" who handled that for you. Probably, if you're famous and successful enough, you do have "people" to do it for you. But I have a feeling many of you are in the same boat with me so you better start giving some thought to what you're going to do when you get up to the plate.
So tonight I'm flattered and humbled by the invitation and I want to shine because it sets the stage for my next book which is due to come out later this year. I started working on my presentation today so if any of you know any good writer jokes, I'm all ears.